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Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich selling Britain's Chelsea FC over war in Ukraine

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Wealthy Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich bought the famed British soccer team Chelsea FC almost 20 years ago.&nbsp; File Photo by Anatoli Zhdanov/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/edf7bed3682b432a321b402e119f5560/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Wealthy Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich bought the famed British soccer team Chelsea FC almost 20 years ago.  File Photo by Anatoli Zhdanov/UPI | License Photo

March 3 (UPI) -- Russian Oligarch Roman Abramovich has said that he's begun the process of selling famed English soccer club Chelsea FC, due to mounting pressure related to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

Abramovicich said that the decision to give up ownership is in everyone's best interest. He bought the team in 2003 and recently shifted "stewardship and care" of Chelsea FC to its foundation of trustees.

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"I have always taken decisions with the club's best interest at heart," he said in a statement. "In the current situation, I have therefore taken the decision to sell the club, as I believe this is in the best interest of the club, the fans, the employees, as well as the club's sponsors and partners."

Abramovicich called owning the club the "privilege of a lifetime" and said the sale won't be rushed. He's also instructed the team to set up a charitable foundation from which proceeds of the team's sale will be given to victims of the war in Ukraine."

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"This includes providing critical funds towards the urgent and immediate needs of victims, as well as supporting the long-term work of recovery," he said.

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Abramovich has been under increasing pressure to sell the club, as Britain and many Western nations continue to punish Russia economically for the attacks against Ukraine. Various leaders, including U.S. President Joe Biden, have also called for actions to strip wealthy Russian oligarchs who have helped Russia finance the war of their luxurious lifestyles.

"Please know that this has been an incredibly difficult decision to make, and it pains me to part with the club in this manner. However, I do believe this is in the best interest of the club," Abramovich added.

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European Union leaders attend a summit at the Chateau de Versailles near Paris on March 11, 2022. Photo by the European Union/ UPI | License Photo

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